As early as second semester of last year, Provincial Agriculture Office urged the farmers to plant drought tolerant and early maturing crops to offset the effects of El Niño, “Thus for now the office has not received any damage reports,”  agri researcher Charito Catarata of PAO reported in a Kapihan forum recently.



Catarata said, so far the occurrence of El Niño has brought very minimal effect to most palay and corn  farmers in the province since they already harvested their crops as early as September 2014 for the first crop and February this year  for the second cropping.


As an advocate and practicing organic farming, Negros Oriental may outlive the intense hot weather since the soil is filled with organic matter and carbon, the agriculture official said.


Other set of contingency prepared to mitigate the adverse effects of the weather phenomenon El Niño, the farmers have been advised to access drought-tolerant varieties of crops or rice which thrive even limited water supply.


In the same forum, National Irrigation Administration (NIA) division chief Engr. Joseph Naparota said more than 5,000 farmer-members from 60 irrigator famer associations did not feel much the El Niño weather event.


NIA has set its water crisis management plan to equally distribute the availability of the water supply in the irrigations.


The water level of the three impounding reservoirs in Calango, Zamboanguita and Dauin towns is still normal where water supplies of the irrigation systems are taken from the rivers, said Engr. Naparota.


However, the Nasig-id, Zamboanguita reservoir has very low supply of water thus temporarily closed to be able to collect more water.


El Niño is the unusual warming of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific that is usually characterized by below-average rainfall, which leads to a dry spell. However, PAGASA chief Neptune Catarata said, this year’s El Niño is likely moderate. (mbcn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental with reports from Sheena Mae Diongco, SU intern)